- North Africa
- Religion - Sexuality
Sexuality: Artificial hymen, a Moroccan sore?
"Like a Virgin" sounds like an appropriate slogan for Gigimo, a Chinese company involved in the "discreet" sale of artificial hymen. At only 300 dirhams (26 euros), the water-soluble pouch that releases a blood like substance is attracting more and more young Moroccan women seeking to simulate virginity. And almost expectedly, concerns over this "object of perdition" have been raised by some clerics.
Regaining lost virginity? Gigimo, a Chinese company, says yes, it is possible. It all depends on a former virgin’s talent as an actress while using their rather revolutionary but unusual product. Featuring among their long line of sex toys, erotic films, sexy lingerie, penis enlargers, pumps… is a new and sensational artificial hymen. It comes in a small "soluble" pouch "expandable at body heat" to be inserted inside the vagina, twenty minutes before penetration. “It will expand a little and make you feel tight. When your lover penetrates, it will ooze out a liquid that looks like blood not too much but just the right amount. Add in a few moans and groans, you will pass through undetectable,” cautions the manual.
Sex versus religion
The artificial hymen was created in 1993 in Japan and sold worldwide. In recent years, it has become very popular in Arab countries including Morocco. For only 300 dirhams (26 euros), young women in search of a second or a third “first time”, or more, can order a brand new hymen with a click of a mouse. But the curious attention the virginity pouch is getting in the Moroccan kingdom is not only due to its success but also the fiery religious debates.
And despite the fact that the product is only sold via the internet, Moroccan clerics met in Rabat to express their views on the artificial hymen. It comes as no surprise that the object has been declared haram; against the "principles and values of Islam." Even more surprisingly, many young Moroccans have joined forces, via Facebook, to denounce the evils of the artificial hymen.
Selwa Dlimi is a member of one of the many artificial hymen inspired facebook groups. For this young woman, the use of artificial hymen is against Islamic values; values that "forbid" extramarital sex. "Religion only seeks the happiness of individuals; and when it forbids something, it is certainly for the good of society in general," she says.
Adelbari Zemzmi, a Moroccan theologian well known for his avant-gardist arguments, begs to differ. Member of parliament and representative of the Islamist Virtue and Revivalist Party (Parti de la vertu et de la renaissance), Zemzmi believes that the artificial hymen could be beneficial to women who may have fallen victim to rape or even those who might have accidentally lost their virginity. There is no need to inform the husband, he suggests. "Marriage is desirable in Islam and any means to achieve it is legitimate," he was quoted as saying by the Moroccan media.
"Neither whores nor submissive"
Although some see this artificial hymen as a religious obstacle, others like Leila insist that it translates into the emancipation of Women. "Thanks to this object, Moroccan women can have sex before marriage. This hymen paves the way for them to become more liberated... In Morocco, virginity is a serious matter. Islam, family, men... put pressure on women to remain pure," says she. Nadia , a 30 year-old mother, agrees with Leila. "I was a virgin when I got married. I wanted to please my mother, but I now regret it. If this object had been available a decade ago, I would have used it," said she.
The various reactions show how difficult it is to get rid of the weight of religion and tradition. Even in our day and age in both rural and urban Morocco blood-stained bed sheets are triumphantly shown to families of husbands to prove a bride’s virginity. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a sex therapist admitted that "There is a prevailing hypocrisy in this country. Men sleep with lots of women and yet they seek virgins… Moroccan women use artificial hymen out of necessity; to keep those men happy”.
But the situation is improving: "More young people are speaking out about their sexuality. Many couples come to my office to talk about their problems. It is a new phenomenon that could trivialise the subject of virginity."
 Her name has been changed